The fourth studio album from this Fredericksburg, Virginia artist is built around rearrangements of nine previously released songs. These include the title tracks of each of her three preceding albums, namely Oklahoma Lottery, Country Songs and Butter.
In addition there are two new covers: a sassy take of Hank Williams’ Lovesick Blues and a slowed down, un-bluesy version of Bob Dylan’s It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry.
Five years of nonstop touring with guitarist Tim Bray led them both to the realization that these tunes worked best when they were a closer match to their live performances. Engineer/bassist E.P Jackson (Jonas' husband) was therefore tasked with capturing a more direct sound that was as uncluttered and unfussy as possible.
Hers is not a classic or contrived country voice. At times she reminds me of Mary Margaret O’Hara and her heroine is Joni Mitchell.
Jonas prefers her music to be labelled as Americana. This is perhaps why these new recordings dispense with the pedal steel guitar and fiddle.Butter has more in common with jazz swing although tracks like Ophelia and Money still owe much to classic country and, whether she likes it or not, that’s where her fan base still lies.
Karen Jonas’ website